Designed as a regulatory system governing the way beer was made, the Reinheitsgebot puts many of our favourite modern beer styles under suspicion. However, it also puts some of the brews we beer geeks often scoff at on the law’s hit list. I have to admit I have yet to sample Coors Light Iced T, nor Bud Light Lime Mojito, although I have checked out Bud Light Lime (I was not impressed; let’s leave it at that). Much as I applaud the giants of the beer world for taking heed of the advice given to them by beer geeks to add more flavour to their frosty cold ones, it seems clear they did not learn the lesson in the way we were hoping.
Unlike most of my fellow beer writers, I hate to pick on the big breweries. I’m an equal opportunity beer drinker, and I’ll just as readily heft a glass of Guinness as I will a Black Oak Pale Ale (but if given the choice, I’d heft that pint with Ken Woods any day of the week and twice on Sunday; sorry, Guinness people, I’m sure you’re swell, but Ken’s a riot). It’s rare I meet a beer I don’t like, but once in awhile, the big breweries make me want to facepalm with a flaming oven mitt.
The recent launch of Bud Light Lime Mojito from Anheuser-Busch Inbev is a good example. If you’ve been a Beer In Canada reader for awhile, you may remember one of my first columns tackled lime beers. I clearly come out on the side of “oh, hells no!”
I can understand where these lime beers came from and will also cede the point that many fine beers are flavoured with a fruit (the best use fresh fruit, not extract, though), but the flavours of “iced tea” and “mojito” strike me as putting a strain on the definition of “beer.” Even they are made with barley and hops (in addition to the corn or rice likely used as cheap adjuncts), are these beers really … well, beer?